Yesterday I went over to Nottingham to roll down a hill in a ball. It was time to tick “sphereing” (also called zorbing) off my list thanks to a voucher I was given for my birthday last November. I booked my experience at Sphere Mania in Nottingham which I was told is the longest hill roll in Europe at over 300m.
It’s been booked for a little while, but as it happens today was the first day they’ve been open this season due to the rubbish weather we’ve had through April and the start of May. I would think rain and mud means those big inflatable plastic balls don’t behave as you would normally expect, and also the guys running the place would be stuck outside with only a couple of gazebos for shelter all day.
Finding the location was easy thanks to the decent instructions on the confirmation email (and the tomtom app on my phone!), and parking was a grassy field. There was a solitary portaloo at one end of the parking area – Sphere Mania is a totally mobile setup in the middle of a farm, so there are no brick buildings or other permanent structures. There was a fat van serving burgers and drinks in case you get peckish – I enjoyed my cheeseburger!
On arrival there are three gazebos set up – you sign in at the middle one, where you first have to watch a video telling you sphereing is a “high risk activity” and you might hurt yourself if you don’t follow the instructions properly. Well of course!
Unfortunately I then had a long wait. It seems it’s not normal for single riders to go – as the big balls were for two people I had to wait for another single rider to turn up. There were some booked in but it was nearly 1pm before I was actually on my way up the hill for my turn – two hours after I’d signed in (although I was half an hour early for my time slot of 11.30am). Thankfully it was a lovely day and there was plenty of space to lounge about and enjoy the sunshine. While sitting around I watched other people take their turn – the first two or three pairs didn’t seem that impressed with the experience which was a bit concerning, they all complained of being uncomfortable or thrown around too much. So I stopped listening to them and sat back.
I rolled down the hill with a lovely girl who made the full climbing harness look good! To get in to the ball you have to take a run and dive through a really small hole – we both got stuck. Inside the ball was hot and once clipped in off we went. Slowly at first, bouncing at times (we definitely got air!), and ending by smacking into hay bails at the bottom. I did get thrown about a bit, which resulted in me bashing my lip half way down (thankfully I kept all my teeth!), but it felt safe in the harness and it was a real adrenaline rush.
The ride probably lasted 30 seconds to a minute but it seemed to go on for much longer than that. It was loads of fun. I’d definitely do it again.
No photos of me on this little adventure as I didn’t have a buddy with me this time and didn’t want to pay Sphere Mania to take my photo, but the shot at the top shows the ball I rolled in at the bottom of the hill.
Have you done sphereing? What did you think?
PS – I’ve updated my list… as always I’m open to suggestions of things to add and any help you can offer in ticking some of the existing things off!